IHS Markit has slowly transformed itself into something of a powerhouse in the order management system (OMS) space over the last two years, challenging the dominance of well-established vendors, including Charles River Development, Fidessa, Eze Software Group and Bloomberg.
This year, IHS Markit defended its 2016 win in the best OMS category at the Buy-Side Technology Awards—arguably the most unexpected outcome of last year’s 33 individual categories on offer—proving that its January 2014 acquisition of thinkFolio was indeed an insightful move, not only for the firm itself but also for its lengthy buy-side client roster.
thinkFolio has become a tool for fund managers and dealers within buy-side institutions to understand and keep pace of different investment products.
While best known for its fixed-income capabilities, the platform has already begun to gain the trust of the buy side for its support of other products, including equities, bonds and derivatives, as well as bank loans, which have recently become one of the hottest trends across the industry.
According to Spiros Giannaros, global head, thinkFolio and EDM at IHS Markit, the firm has invested heavily in the expansion of its asset class and analytics coverage. “Bank loans used to be considered a niche asset class, but that has changed,” he says. “That’s why we are expanding the portfolio management, analytics and trade settlement for bank loans.”
From a technology perspective, the firm has been expanding thinkFolio’s user interface (UI) capabilities and has rolled out new web UI. However, this year, the primary focus has been on opening up the platform to open APIs, allowing users to centralize compliance, as they might be using different OMSs for different regions or asset classes, and they need to consolidate their regulatory requirements.
Due to the firm’s expansion into the US, it has rolled-out an optimized version of To Be Announced (TBA) functionality in order to tackle the fragmented nature of TBAs in portfolios. This function reduces the number of open tickets, while retaining all exposures.
Giannaros says that for 2018, IHS Markit has a lot of work to do in terms of upgrading thinkFolio’s services. For example, the platform is being migrated to an HTML 5 front-end, which will modernize the user interface and experience.
“The Managed Service comes with FIX connectivity to enable easy connectivity to different execution venues,” he adds. Another key focus for IHS Markit will be to build its own investment book of record solution, a move that the buy side will be watching closely.
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